To the Editor:
The Affordable Care Act contains far too many provisions stuffed within it – good, bad and ugly.
One provision is so ugly that it is even opposed by a segment that would normally be part of the president’s supportive constituency – the labor unions.
I’m referring to the so-called “Cadillac” excise tax, which supposedly seeks to discourage wasteful health care usage by taxing insurance plans deemed overly generous. Because this part of ACA doesn’t kick in until 2018, there’s time for a bipartisan push to jettison that ugly tax before it becomes entrenched.
The premise of the tax is that richer insurance plans drive overutilization. That’s a fictional construct in the minds of ivory tower health economists not in touch with the real world. Health care utilization is actually driven by a person’s health status and by that patient’s physicians’ orders – neither of them related to available insurance benefits.
ACA itself has caused all compliant insurance plans to become richer because of the 2010 removal of most dollar maximums and the 2014 minimally mandated “essential” health benefits – which go beyond what typical group or individual plans cover.
Consider, too, that the law allows for the maximum plan benefits exempt from the tax to increase annually but based on the general rate of inflation. This is dumb, if not cruel, as health care costs increase much more then general inflation. Before long, almost all health plans will become subject to this heinous tax.
Repeal this tax before it starts.